What is Freshers’ Flu and how to survive it?!

By Shauni Sanderson

You’ve made it to Uni, you’re meeting loads of new people, visiting new places and you’re hopefully having lots of fun and then it hits you… Freshers’ Flu.

The cold, the aches, the shivers. Yep, Freshers’ Flu is real – it even has it’s own Wikipedia page. It’s never a good time to get sick, but now probably feels particularly inconvenient.

Why I am I ill?

It’s likely you’ve been on a fair few late nights out (which may or may not have involved a bit too much alcohol) and you have loads of new commitments in the day time too. Your diet probably isn’t full of home cooked goodness (super noodles anyone?). You might even be feeling a bit stressed or homesick.

Through meeting lots of new people and going to all these new places, you’re being exposed to strains of illnesses that you might not have been before, which is never great, but particularly when your immune system probably isn’t feeling tip top. All of this, coupled with the fact that Freshers’ coincides with the beginning of the annual flu season, means picking a few germs up is pretty unavoidable (sorry guys)!

So what can I do?

Well it might be hard to avoid, but here are our top 10 tips for trying to prevent the dreaded Freshers’ Flu and how to be prepared if it does catch up with you…


  1. Register at the Doctors

If you’ve moved away from home, make it a priority to register with a new GP – you never know when you might get ill!  A lot of cities will have a Student Medical Practice that specialise in caring for university students and there should be plenty of help and information available for signing up. Use this as an opportunity to make sure all your jabs are up to date too!

  1. Eat a balanced diet

The temptation may be real to grab pizza and chips, but give your immune system a helping hand by taking a break from the beige food. If you’re catered, take advantage of the salad bar and grab a piece of fruit with breakfast! If you’re self catered, it can be a great way to get to know people by cooking together. Aim to throw at least a couple of fresh vegetables in with every meal or try making healthy home-cooked versions of your takeaway temptations.

  1. Hygiene!

Practicing good hygiene is more important now than ever when there are loads of germs around. Be sure to wash your hands regularly and at risk of being called a Grandma, you could even carry some anti bacterial hand gel (your flat mates won’t be laughing anymore when you’re the one who doesn’t get sick)!

  1. Invest in some decent cleaning products

A follow on from the last point, but remember to try to keep your flat and kitchen clean too. Be sure to wipe down surfaces and clean door handles and anywhere that germs could be lingering.

  1. Have a night off!

Whilst you might have total FOMO, it’s worth taking a night off every now and again. How about suggesting a flat night in with your favourite film? Remember that your body needs a break from drinking and an early night sometimes.

  1. Try to destress

Moving home and starting University can be a really stressful time, so remember to take some time for yourself to relax and destress – taking care of your mental health is important too. Take advantage of some of the wellness activities that are on offer during Freshers’ Week and make sure you check out student services at your university to see what support is available should you ever need it.

  1. Stock up on the Freshers’ Flu essentials

Whether you get it or not, it’s always worth having a stock of Freshers’ Flu essentials just in case. Be sure to pack Vitamins, painkillers, Berocca, Lemsip, tissues and anything else you might need to help you feel comfortable if you do start to feel unwell.

  1. Remember, it’s probably just a really bad cold!

Freshers’ Flu isn’t usually too serious and with a bit of rest, you should be back to normal pretty quickly. If you are worried it might be something more serious then be sure to visit your doctor. If you need urgent medical help or advice call 111, or in an emergency call 999.

  1. Turn it into a bonding experience

The chances are, if you’ve got Freshers’ Flu, some of your new friends will have it too. Share the tissues round and huddle up under some blankets on the sofa. Netflix and Lemsip anyone?

  1. If all else fails, call home!

You might be feeling homesick and it’s even worse if you’re feeling poorly. Make time to call home and get some much-needed sympathy from family and friends, and if you can, schedule a visit back to see them for hugs and home comforts.